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Preserving memories of Civil War Soldiers


St. Louis County (KSDK)--An estimated 180,000 African Americans fought in the Civil War, many of them newly freed slaves who literally fought for their freedom while in the military.

There is a local effort to properly recognize a group of Missouri Civil War soldiers.

The 56th Infantry Regiment, U-S Colored Troops was made up of Missouri slaves who enlisted to fight in the Civil War for the Union.

There will be a recognition and remembrance service next month at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery for the members of the 56th who are buried there.

The service will include a reading of the names of all 175 soldiers who died in the cholera epidemic of 1866.

That service takes place August 16th at 10:00 a.m. at Jefferson Barracks.

From: KSDK


Gettysburg hero may get Medal of Honor 150 years later

CushLt. Alonzo Cushing (far left), shown with other Union officers (Library of Congress)

From Fox News

Two Wisconsin congressmen successfully added an amendment to the annual defense bill that would pave the way for the Medal of Honor to be awarded to a Union artillery officer credited for his heroism at Gettysburg 150 years ago.

First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing positioned his unit on Gettysburg’s Cemetery Ridge and endured multiple injuries during the historic Pickett's Charge, Hope Landsem, a second class cadet at the U.S. Military Academy, wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

She writes, "In the ensuing Confederate infantry assault that came to be known as Pickett's Charge, Cushing was shot twice, the second bullet tearing through his stomach and groin. The wounded officer kept up the fight, clutching his intestines as he commanded the artillery battery. Then Cushing was hit a third time, struck in the mouth by a bullet that exited at the base of his skull. The defenders of Cemetery Ridge eventually repulsed the Confederate advance, a pivotal moment in the Union victory that turned the tide of the Civil War."

Cushing was from Delafield, Wis., and it was indeed two Wisconsin representatives who pushed for the amendment.

"When it comes to honoring war heroes, it is never too late to do the right thing," Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., said, according to the report.  Kind was joined by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican.

If the Senate passes the National Defense Authorization Act, Cushing will receive the nation’s highest military honor. By law, military commanders must nominate soldiers for the award within two years of the action for which they are nominated. After the two-year period has passed, Congress can nominate potential recipients, Landsem's article said.

Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock once called Cushing, “The bravest man I ever saw.”

Scott Hartwig, a historian with the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, described the chaotic battle that pitted Cushing's 110 men against 13,000 charging Confederate troops to, 

"Clap your hands as fast as you can -- that's as fast as the shells are coming in," Hartwig said. "They were under terrific fire."

Continue reading "Gettysburg hero may get Medal of Honor 150 years later" »

Civil War Veteran, Pennsylvania, 1935

Civil War Veteran, Pennsylvania, 1935, To have had a seat at the foot of this man…

The Civil War proved divisive long after the last drop of blood was shed. By 1890 all of the northern states celebrated the holiday at the end of May, but southerners honored their dead on different dates until after World War I—when the holiday lost its connection to Civil War soldiers only and became a way to honor all military lives lost.

The Civil War veteran above wears the cap of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)—the largest Union veterans’ organization—founded in 1866. The number on his cap signals that his post was 139, located in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

This prize-winning amateur photograph from the 1935 Newspaper National Snapshot Awards was taken by Mrs. Nathan Klein of Wyoming, Pennsylvania. The note on the back reads: “Old soldier talking to bootblacks.”

Credit to —Johnna Rizzo

From The Civil War Parlor

Source National Geographic

James Tanner

James Tanner, Circa 1866 Collection of Michael Robert Patterso

A Famous Figure Lost to History- James Tanner, Army Stenographer was an amputee who lost both legs in Battle of Second Bull Run (Manassas)

Without This Man We Would Have No Comprehensive Record of the Night Lincoln Was Assassinated.

Tanner studied stenography and worked at the War Department in Washington. On the evening of April 14, 1865 he hurried to Ford’s Theater on hearing that President Lincoln had been shot. He remained there throughout the night with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and took a complete shorthand notes as the search for the assassin was planned and carried out. His record of events that evening at the Peterson House (across from the theater) remain the most comprehensive record of the events that followed the President’s shooting. He later founded a Veteran’s organization and spoke at the dedication of the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery.

James Tanner died at Washington, D.C. on October 2, 1927 and was buried in Section 2 of Arlington National Cemetery.

From the Civil War Parlor

Rare KIA Union Frock Coat


Rare KIA Union Frock Coat - Original 1862 issue infantry enlisted frock coat of Pvt. Wilfred Barker, Company G, 18th New Hampshire Infantry who died in action in an assault on Fort Stedman on April 2, 1865, before Petersburg, Virginia.

This frock, complete with original New Hampshire buttons, is a prime example of a state issued frock and is incredibly rare — very few exist even in museum collections. The coat is faded from age and has numerous areas of insect damage from the traces of blood on it…the vermin tend to attack those spots first. This coat is well documented and surfaced at an auction in New Hampshire about a decade ago and is accompanied by an original copy of the unit regimental history.

From The Civil War Parlor

Camp life humdrum for Civil War soldiers


Waiting for spring

All is quiet on Civil War battlefields in the east as winter drags on. Rivers and streams are too deep to cross. Roads are impassable.

The nearly 7,000 men from Oneida and Herkimer counties serving in seven volunteer infantry regiments are in camps scattered across Virginia. Many complain that camp life is monotonous. The same drills every day, the same inspections every Sunday, guard duty, digging wells, chopping wood, cleaning tents.

One soldier with the 117th New York – the Fourth Oneida regiment – writes: “Our work is digging, we could have done that at home. We came to fight and end the war by extinguishing the rebellion.”

For recreation, the men read, play cards and, when it snows and the snow is just right for “packing,” there are snowball fights.

From: UTICAOD.com

George R. Yost Joined the Crew of the U.S.S. CAIRO

George R. Yost Joined the Crew of the U.S.S. CAIRO on January 25, 1862, at the Age of Fourteen.

He was 4’ tall, had grey-blue eyes, sandy hair, and a fair complexion. On the CAIRO’s muster roll he is listed as First Class Boy. George served on the CAIRO during the entire course of her career which, unfortunately, lasted less than one year. On December 12, 1862, the U.S.S. CAIRO became the first man-o-war sunk by a torpedo.

George Yost writes that he was among the last to leave the sinking vessel, and states, “I saved my Journal and part of my clothes” Thanks to the foresight of George Yost, we have today an invaluable source of information about the career of the U.S.S. CAIRO and her crew. The Journal has survived and with it the details of day-to-day activities on board the Civil War Gunboat … told through the words of a fourteen year-old sailor.

From the Civil War Parlor

Alexander Cherry, Co. K, 37th Kentucky Infantry


A visitor to my site asked if I could locate some information on one of his Union Soldier ancestors. 

Alexander Cherry was born about 1830 in Jackson County Tennessee.

He joined the 37th Kentucky Infantry (Mounted) on November 1, 1863 in Glasgow, Kentucky. He was a private for the duration of his service.

He died of Small Pox on January 30, 1865, in a hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.  

Death from disease was more common from death in combat. Totals for Union Solders during the war are:

Battle deaths:


Disease, etc.:




PBS will air a new documentary by Ric Burns, Death in the Civil War on September 18, 2012

The Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois currently has new exhibit, To Kill and to Heal, Weapons and Medicne of the Civil War

Civil War in Missouri - book review

BY TIM O’NEIL • toneil@post-dispatch.com

There were 1,162 battles and skirmishes in Missouri during the Civil War, behind only Virginia and Tennessee. Virginia gets the press, and the movies.

Most historians relegate Missouri’s role as a footnote, a faraway place with a nasty internal guerrilla war that produced the likes of Jesse James. Historian James McPherson, one of the contemporary giants of Civil War studies, refers to Missouri as “peripheral to the principal military campaigns of the war.”

Louis S. Gerteis, a professor of history at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, respectfully disagrees. Gerteis established his bona fides in 2001 with publication of “Civil War St. Louis,” a clear and thorough account of the turmoil, both in arms and cultural division, that afflicted St. Louis throughout the four-year war.

This summer he has answered McPherson with “The Civil War in Missouri: A Military History,” a narrative of the clashes between conventional Union and Confederate armies in Missouri. Gerteis notes that the Federal Civil War Sites Advisory Commission placed 45 battles at the highest level of significance. Three of them are in Missouri.

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